July 4, 2019

A terrible NYT headline, "Robespierre’s America/We need to reclaim the spirit of 1776, not the certitudes of 1789"...

... for a column by Bret Stephens.

If we are reclaiming something, then we are taking back what we once had. What was it we had in 1789? It was the United States Constitution! The first Congress met and declared it in effect. The Bill of Rights was proposed and sent out for ratification. The first President was chosen and inaugurated, and the Departments of State, War, and the Treasury were established. Why shouldn't we "reclaim" that "certitude"?

Oh... I see... "Robespierre's America." The "certitude of 1789" is what happened in France. How would we reclaim that? We never had it.

I know there's a column here likening the present-day times to the French Revolution, but I'm annoyed... and not just by the inaccuracy of "reclaim." I'm annoyed that the New York Times thinks 1789 is obviously a reference to French history — as if 1789 were not a phenomenally important year in American history.

With such rockets-red glaring ignorance at the top, the rest of the column feels worthless.

I skim enough to see that the ignorance that bugs me doesn't come only from the headline writer. Stephens himself says:
I’m writing this column on the eve of July 4. But the country I’m describing each year seems to feel the spirit of 1776 less and the spirit of 1789 more. “Armed with the ‘truth,’ Jacobins could brand any individuals who dared to disagree with them traitors or fanatics,” historian Susan Dunn wrote of the French Revolution. “Any distinction between their own political adversaries and the people’s ‘enemies’ was obliterated.”
The Fourth of July is a date traditionally associated with the name of Thomas Jefferson. Nobody today denies his hypocrisies, flaws, bigotries and misjudgments. I’m still glad I live in the country he helped make, not the America that our latter-day Robespierres would design.
1789 isn't even a good way to refer to Robespierre!
As one of the leading members of the insurrectionary Paris Commune, Robespierre was elected as a deputy to the French Convention in early September 1792, but was soon criticised for trying to establish a triumvirate or a dictatorship. In Spring 1793 he urged the creation of a "Sans-culotte army" to sweep away conspirators. In July he was appointed as a member of the powerful Committee of Public Safety. Robespierre is best known for his role during the "reign of Terror", during which he exerted his influence to suppress the Girondins to the right, the Hébertists to the left and the Dantonists in the centre. Robespierre was eventually brought down by his obsession with the vision of an ideal republic and his indifference to the human costs of installing it. The Terror ended with Robespierre's arrest on 9 Thermidor and his execution on the day after, events that initiated a period known as the Thermidorian Reaction.
Are you enjoying Thermidor?
Thermidor (French pronunciation: ​[tɛʁmidɔʁ]) was the eleventh month in the French Republican Calendar. The month was named after the French word thermal which comes from the Greek word "thermos" which means heat....

Like all French Republican Calendar months, Thermidor lasted 30 days and was divided into three 10-day weeks called décades (decades). Every day had the name of an agricultural plant, except the 5th (Quintidi) and 10th day (Decadi) of every decade, which had the name of a domestic animal or an agricultural tool, respectively.
The 4th of Thermidor is "ryegrass" (French: "ivraie"). Here's the Thermador calendar page for contemplation:

113 comments:

Paco Wové said...

Shorter B. Stephens:

"Dang, I guess the crocodile isn't going to eat me last."

Dave Begley said...

Typical NYT. Confusing America with France. We're exactly the same except we don't speak French and our food isn't as good!

Brett Stephens joins George Will and Bill Kristol in the ranks of former conservatives now full blown loons and TDS nuts.

Gahrie said...

What about his basic premise that the Left is repeating the mistakes made in the French Revolution?

I made that point last night over at Insty.

Howard said...

Thermador means hot box. In the painting, the creature is pawing her "hot box"

Howard said...

It's the temperature version of humidor

Clyde said...

I just reclaimed the Spirit of 1777 by ordering a Betsy Ross Flag t-shirt from Nine Line Apparel. If someone has a problem with that flag, the flag isn't the problem.

We don't need no stinkin' Nikes.

Big Mike said...

Some clever French artist renamed his painting from “Leda” to “Thermidor,” and kept his head another day.

Jamie said...

And all they had to do was say something about "reclaiming the revolutionary Spirit of America, rejecting the specter of the revolutionary Esprit de la France." If what they wanted was a piece they could run in July 4, I mean.

Dave Begley said...

I'd like to see some serious Wall Street research on Nike. Does this anti-American stuff hurt or help sales? In America? Elsewhere?

Phil Knight is no longer running the show at Nike. His "Shoe Dog" book is great!

blnelson2 said...

Ann: It is the spirit of 1776 that is to be reclaimed, NOT that of 1789 France.

JackWayne said...

Interesting that Althouse ignores the forest for the trees. Stephens is clearly condemning the Left for their mob tactics which is pretty unusual for the NYT. But let’s focus on Robespierre and Thermidor as the real target. What’s the German name for the thread writer thread-jacking her own thread?

Ryan said...

IS THAT HER BUSH OR A DUCK FOOT?

tim maguire said...

blnelson2 said...
Ann: It is the spirit of 1776 that is to be reclaimed, NOT that of 1789 France.


But what's wrong with the spirit of 1789 France? Or the spirit of 1789 US?

tim in vermont said...

“Armed with the ‘truth,’ Jacobins could brand any individuals who dared to disagree with them traitors or fanatics,” historian Susan Dunn wrote of the French Revolution.”

Sounds like he’s describing Chuck and Inga. How many times have people who don’t knee jerk assume that every action of Trump is wrong been described as unpatriotic stooges of Putin right on these pages.

“Any distinction between their own political adversaries and the people’s ‘enemies’ was obliterated.”

Antifa in a nutshell.

It would be too much to hope that my click through would be rewarded with any kind of even handed and self aware analysis, I suppose.

Gahrie said...

You know, for someone who claims the right to say "words mean what I want them to mean", Althouse can be tragically pedantic sometimes.

Bob Boyd said...

IS THAT HER BUSH OR A DUCK FOOT?

Its Yoda's hand.

rehajm said...

We opted against the Thermador for a Subzero. We like it but you gotta wait several seconds for the pressure to even out before you can open the door again.

Fernandistein said...

Don't forget to tow a burning effigy of George III behind your pickup like they did in 1776.

tim in vermont said...

Well, son of a gun. I wonder how the NYT let this one past them.

tim in vermont said...

“Don't forget to tow a burning effigy of George III behind your pickup like they did in 1776”

I am so doing that next year.

Bob Boyd said...

I see the spirit of 1776 in the current rejection of a global aristocracy, that flatters itself with the name meritocracy, trying to establish its supremacy over us all.

Lucid-Ideas said...

@Ryan

In French, the vagina is often referred to as a "duck foot". So both...I think.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Idealism is dangerous. Leftists are lunatics and Progressives are their crazy siblings. Someone has to play the adult, as fuddy-duddy as that may seem in our Big Media News and haute commercial athletic footwear culture that hates Betsy Ross — while simultaneously knowing nothing about her, and with no interest in learning. I’d say that’s akin to Robespierre, who was a lunatic who fomented crazy things. Many people died. Collateral damage.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ann: It is the spirit of 1776 that is to be reclaimed, NOT that of 1789 France."

Yes, exactly, as I am saying in the post. We're told to reclaim 1776, not 1789. They intend 1789 to be a reference to France, but when I saw 1789, especially with the word "reclaim," I thought of the great American year that was 1789. I think of the Bill of Rights!

You can't "reclaim" what you never had, so it's a terrible way to refer France.

And what Robespierre did was not in 1789, so it's ignorant re France too.

rehajm said...

I had a hard time following what country without the proper nouns. Americans pining for France is always creepy...Kerryesque. The America that’s an annex of Mexico? That seems popular again...

Ann Althouse said...

"Interesting that Althouse ignores the forest for the trees. Stephens is clearly condemning the Left for their mob tactics which is pretty unusual for the NYT. But let’s focus on Robespierre and Thermidor as the real target. What’s the German name for the thread writer thread-jacking her own thread?"

As I said in the article, I chose not to read the column. I pick my targets. The fact that Stephens may have had something to say against the left may interest you, but it's not my choice for this post.

"Condemning the Left for their mob tactics" is a subject that comes up continually. It's not something special that I want to highlight because a NYT writer decided to write about it.

I'm interested in what I'm interest in, and that's what this blog is.

I'm not a right-winger or a left-winger.

Darrell said...

This is Charlotte Corday's America. Prepare the bath.

Ann Althouse said...

"Interesting that Althouse ignores the forest for the trees."

And the duck's foot for the bush.

MikeR said...

Haven't read the column yet, but my first thought from the post is that I'm not sure who Stephens is referring to. The real Robespierre's, the antifa folks, or the fake ones that antifa claims to be defending us from? This time plenty of the "aristos" are on the side of antifa; maybe that was true in France as well, till they came and guillotined the aristos anyhow, before starting on themselves. Here it's Biden vs. Warren and Sanders - Biden offers them protection from the other Democrats.
Update: Okay, read the article. Kudos to Stephens for telling the truth; though he never named the villains, he avoided the false equivalency of adding something about how of course Donald Trump and his minions are even worse (even though he is known not to like Trump). The top comments, on the other hand, one and all insist that the problem is trivial compared to what conservatives are doing and anyhow the people getting abused deserve it. QED

narciso said...

If you read viniks great upheaval you realize hos sjw robespierre danton Marat all were. Catherine the great strongly indulged enlightenment theme till the terror, then she instituted her own thermidor

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

The American Constitution was the high water mark of the Enlightenment. It promulgated the desire of We the People to engage in self-government, tempered by structures to prevent unchecked, centralized power. A radical idea in its time, it is an enduring success. It is the longest-enduring and shortest Constitution in the world.

The French Revolution was the beginning of the Enlightenment’s end. It believed in the perfectibility of man. Spectacular FAIL. They’re on their Fifth Republic.

Kevin said...

There have always been headline checkers at the NYT.

But now they check the headlines are appropriately anti-Trump.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

tim maguire: “But what's wrong with the spirit of 1789 France?”

Mob rule.

Rory said...

"though he never named the villains,"

Exactly.

Quayle said...

“Nobody today denies his hypocrisies, flaws, bigotries and misjudgments.“

They may not deny it in Jefferson. But they sure deny it in their own hearts.

We are living through the age of unrestrained pride. Maybe we can reclaim a semblance of humility.

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

Paco:

Shorter B. Stephens:

"Dang, I guess the crocodile isn't going to eat me last."


Indeed.

In another context, I would appreciate Althouse's exposition here - that a 4th of July column ought to evince some knowledge of what 1789 means in *American* history, and that Stephens can't even get his French historical analogies lined up correctly.

But in this context, Gahrie's "tragically pedantic" is apt; Paco's comment is far more relevant to what's really being expressed by all of Stephens' flailing.

I can't read stuff like that without exasperation: the rest of the sane population has long since noticed what you didn't deign to see until the mob turned on your complacent lapdog self. Where the hell have you been, oh pundit? Too busy with sneering at les deplorables and trafficking in fake fears for the master you share with the mob, I guess.

Drago said...

Nobody: "Well, son of a gun. I wonder how the NYT let this one past them."

Up to this moment Stephens has shown himself to be quite the Useful Idiot in service to the left so they didn't give much scrutiny to this modest criticism of the left which will be read by about 1,000 people nationally and then disappear into nothingness.

Worse, those 1,000 that read it will be lefties/LLR's who will immediately declare Trump the actual subject of the column because of course they will.

This will only result in a minor slap of the wrist to Stephens with a stern warning to get back in line.....

Angle-Dyne, Servant of Ugliness said...

Darrell: This is Charlotte Corday's America. Prepare the bath.

Who's in the tub?

Marat had it coming.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Bob Boyd: “I see the spirit of 1776 in the current rejection of a global aristocracy, that flatters itself with the name meritocracy, trying to establish its supremacy over us all.‘

I’m with you 100%, Brother.

It’s a “meritocracy” based on measures of analytical intelligence. But the creator (the entrepreneur) is he/she who brings something into being for the analytical mind to analyze. The analysis takes place after creation. The self-proclaimed “Brights” don’t get this. They believe they are the creators. They are dead wrong. And dangerously wrong.

Courage, drive and fortitude for risk are the hallmarks of the entrepreneur. It is he/she that American society should reward, and traditionally has. In the end, “merit” is really the ability to get shit done and create value (read: wealth). The Brights don’t get this. The Brights believe their knowledge and status on paper is all there is (and usually, they’re right). They believe experts should be in charge to create the perfect system, yet they’re too stupid to realize no such system exists. They believe in evolution 100%, yet think themselves the most evolved — hence, the self-appointed supremacy. They’re critics, dilettantes and tinkerers with degrees from institutions run by people... just... like... them.

The aristocracy of analytical intelligence is self-referential and self-perpetuating — and it is grossly inefficient. This is what they all have in common across the globe. Hence, their name: Globalists. Their aristocracy is based on their vaunted intelligence — which they believe is inheritable to their progeny. Their inflated intelligence is but a sliver in the spectrum of actual human contribution. Excellence serves, but the Global aristocracy wants it all to themselves. It’s inherently antisocial. Analytical thinking gave us Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Narayanan said...

1776 :
Wealth of Nations.

1776 :
Kritik der Reinen Vernunft

Darrell said...

Marat had it coming.

He surely did. Charlotte Corday is one of my heroes.

Narayanan said...

French Revolution is #Rousseau realized.#

R is Hero to Kant (fan boy with poster on wall etc.)

K called Americans mongrels - not racially pure.

Gahrie said...

"Condemning the Left for their mob tactics" is a subject that comes up continually. It's not something special that I want to highlight because a NYT writer decided to write about it.

I'm interested in what I'm interest in, and that's what this blog is.

I'm not a right-winger or a left-winger.


1) What does condemning political violence have to do with being a left-winger or a right-winger?

2) Are you implying that both sides are equally responsible for committing, promoting and supporting political violence today?

Char Char Binks said...

'No, really "know" your waterfowl.
Is this a French thing?'

It's Greek to me.

Michael K said...


I'd like to see some serious Wall Street research on Nike. Does this anti-American stuff hurt or help sales? In America? Elsewhere?


I have a theory that this Nike leftist push is a way of building support on the left lest it come after them for the well known, but ignored, sweat shops they run in third world countries. Have you seen David Burge's twitter post ? It was on Insty yesterday.

The accusations go back decades.

This is akin to the guys who wore their hair long kin Berkeley to get laid.


Ken B said...

As Insty says, the Trump era is the great unmasking, where our self styled elite are revealing themselves as no such thing. This twaddle from Stephens being a case in point.

Drago said...

Ken B: "This twaddle from Stephens being a case in point."

Quite so. Quite so.

What we also have are those rather dense self-styled LLR's who outsourced their thinking to these self-styled elites and with the exposure of the self-styled elites as being no such thing, these professional followers and bend-the-knee-ers are desperate to help bring down OrangeManBad to salve their bruised ego's.

Rusty said...

" but when I saw 1789, especially with the word "reclaim," I thought of the great American year that was 1789. I think of the Bill of Rights!"
Well worth celebrating today.
Thanks for bringing it up.

Narr said...

IAC/OCD--

I'm with you until your last line. Neither the Holocaust nor the Gulag are good examples of people being too analytical.


Narr
I'll take the Scottish Enlightenment, please

Seeing Red said...

It just hasn’t been decided yet who the royalty is.

The American citizen has a lot of patience, but the self-anointed king elite keep pushing.

Seeing Red said...

tim maguire: “But what's wrong with the spirit of 1789 France?”

Mob rule.

I read this in and stole it from Rantburg A long time ago:

France had their Revolution and all they got was The Reign of Terror.

mccullough said...

The Best and the Brightest.

Good take down of ignorance.

Stephens fancies himself a Deep Thinker. He thinks deeply. Then gets basics wrong. They all do.

readering said...

I think AA is being silly. The big year for U.S. constitution is 1787, when the convention was held. CJ Burger retired in 1986 so he could devote himself to the bicentennial the next year. Anyone with notion of western history hears 1789 and immediately thinks French Revolution. Name Robespierre synonymous with excesses of french revolution.

buwaya said...

The spirit of 1776 should be understood to be that of a European peasant revolt, transplanted across the Atlantic. Think Wat Tyler. It was a jacquerie, a chouannerie, Florian Geyer's haufen, comuneros, a reaction of the analogous people to those in old Europe.

It was dressed up in careful 18th century logic by their betters, but these were, even in later days, rather missing the point. It was a special form of peasant revolt, even leaving out the role of the elites, the colonial gentry.

Those villagers of April 1775 spontaneously armed themselves, with their own arms, and sufficiently organized themselves in the course of a single morning, without elite leadership, to conduct an effective, bloody battle against a professional army. Without that phenomenon on that one day you would have had an entirely different history.

The elites subsequently imposed order and structure on this supposed rabble, but I dont think they helped matters much in this regard, as for a very long time the organized rabble lost its military value and exposed its deficiencies. The natural idea of a guerilla war was distasteful to the elites.

A proper celebration of the spirit of 76 (really of 75), would I think involve a self-organized mustering of the militia.

And no, this accurate representation of the potential for revolt would not appeal to your modern rulers any more than it did to their predecessors, including most of the "Founding Fathers". I dont think your rulers want to be reminded of the potential for popular revolt, in their own capital.

mccullough said...

Better than nothing is a high standard. This column was nothing. Just a hack submitting the annual 4th of July column. Gets shit wrong.

Drago said...

readering: "Name Robespierre synonymous with excesses of french revolution."

LOL

Mass executions and imprisonments leading directly to death = "excesses"

Humane detention centers on border housing illegal immigrants who enter America illegally = Concentration camps

#Lefty&LLRLogic

mockturtle said...

If any group is to be compared to the mobs in Revolutionary France, it is the Progs, with their weeding out of the 'unwoke' and their continually raising the bar of 'wokeness'. But the Chinese Cultural Revolution was really more their style, as there is no guillotine involved, just the harassment, the purging of history and the heavy-handed efforts to bully us into compliance.

Drago said...

readering: "The big year for U.S. constitution is 1787..."

Wrong.

The military defeat of the British at Yorktown is the date that matters regarding the US Constitution and indeed of all things "United States of America"-y.

JAORE said...

Nap time.
Off to dream of Moses and the burning duck foot.

mccullough said...

Buwaya,

As usual, good points. Celebrating Independence is the euphemism. There was no independence until 1783 when The King gave up. You can declare it but words are just words.

We should celebrate revolution. That’s what July 4th is.

mccullough said...

September 3, 1783

buwaya said...

The Bastille was stormed on 14 July 1789.
That was the revolutionary moment, the revolutionary day, when the state order broke down and its instruments failed. And the moment the Paris mob acquired a sort of identity.

It was exactly the equivalent of April 19 1775.

The distinction that formed subsequent history was place and culture. To begin with there is a great difference between the people of a city and a peasantry.

narciso said...

That was the difference between the February revolution and the october one, edsa was the cormer.

buwaya said...

The excesses of the French Revolution also began on July 14 1789, including the murder of prisoners, and decapitations, and internecine murders among the mob. The heads of the mayor of Paris and the governor of the Bastille were carried off on pikes.

readering said...

Well no one called it the bloodless revolution. (That was 1688)

JLScott said...

All this brings to mind Sarah Palin telling the Tea Party to “party like it’s 1773” and having some dimwit at, IIRC, NPR smirk at her supposed stupidity.

Sure that’s the year of the Boston Tea Party (and, of course, the NPR journalist totally knew that), but Palin is too stupid to know that, so she meant to say 1776, but was so stupid that she thought it was 1773. Or something.

buwaya said...

The spirit of '75 properly speaking is best demonstrated by the people assembling and waving their weapons before their rulers, making an open threat of the ultimate political sanction. But people like to cloak such ugly realities in pleasantries and hypocrisies. Thus fireworks and bunting.

The danger is that the rulers can eventually become comfortable and forget or reject reality.

Wilbur said...

Sans culottes? They didn't like men in shorts either

buwaya said...

Robespierre himself was not directly responsible for most of the mass murder of the French Revolution. He had nothing to do with the extremely bloody suppression of the Chouans (or Vendeens), and the events at Nantes and Lyon were largely local matters. There were monsters out there other than Robespierre. It was a collective phenomenon.

buwaya said...

The sans culottes wore pantalons.

buwaya said...

More to the point of this Althouse post -

Women wearing little is a good symbol for Thermidor.
This is prevalent today of course, it being bikini weather in most parts.
But on the whole I think I would rather see the diaphanous styles depicted above than bikinis.

Unknown said...

IS THAT HER BUSH OR A DUCK FOOT?

Its Yoda's hand.


So *Ducks* he's OK with..

mockturtle said...

Buway observes: There were monsters out there other than Robespierre. It was a collective phenomenon.

It was mass hysteria. Rather like TDS.

Michael K said...

The distinction that formed subsequent history was place and culture. To begin with there is a great difference between the people of a city and a peasantry.

The French Revolution, like most revolutions, was begun by the Bourgeoisie and had quite a few aristocrats in the beginning. None are begun by the starving peasantry. The leaders, among whom was Danton who had a wife and children, and the lawyers of Nantes and The Girondins, all lawyers.

They lost control to the Montagnards who were the representatives of Paris, the most radical of the revolutionaries. Just as the cities in this country are run by the most radical left. The deputies from Nantes and Bordeaux were provincial lawyers who wanted moderation once the King, who was very stupid like George III but in the middle of Paris, was gone.

Wisdom is thin on the ground in cities.

rcocean said...

Hello Burt Stephens is a self-described "50% American" who's crowed about the superiority of Immigrants over the "Natives" and generally thinks America 1.0 needs to be replaced. His wife is Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim. He's also the former editor of the Jerusalem Post. Per Wikipedia:

"Both his parents were secular Jews. His paternal grandfather had changed the family surname from Ehrlich to Stephens - He was raised in Mexico City - Stephens received a master's degree in comparative politics at the London School of Economics."

Is it any wonder he got US History wrong, and writes about the French Revolution? He's more Mexican then American.

narciso said...

Yes stalin trotsky dzerjinski, Fidel Raul che the associates of mao and pol pol are more obscure

rcocean said...

The New York Times is actually Owned by Carlos Slim - a billionaire Mexican. This is the paper of our ruling elite! No wonder its full on globalist.

Michael K said...

Robespierre was also a provincial lawyer and his brother, who stayed in the province, was a patron of Napoleon.

rcocean said...

The New York Times constantly talks about "Diversity" but who do they have as columnists. Lets See:

Friedman, Krugman, Michelle Goldberg(!), Burt Stephens, David Brooks, Ross Dounut, and who else?

Basically it covers all of America from the East side of Manhattan to the West side of Manhattan with some bits of Massachusetts and Georgetown thrown in.

rcocean said...

Limbaugh was talking about this on Friday. Our liberal/Left MSM and educational masters just don't like overt displays of 'murican patriotism. All those American flags and songs just make them...uncomfortable. They worry about all the immigrants and foreigners who might be "offended". They worry the Republicans might be gaining an advantage. They wonder why Blacks should care, because of slavery. It goes on and on.

This attitude has real life consequences. Why not have open borders? Why not let in 40 million Zulus or Bangladeshis? What's so great about America, anyway? WHy not give every "Immigrant" the vote and free everything? Aren't native 'muricans a bunch of racists?





Narr said...

The French Revolution was a lot more complex and important than to be reduced to the kind of monocausal Good!/Bad! dichotomy it has become here. Very unlike the American struggle for Independence, it was the breakdown of centuries-old structures that were as corrupt and self-seeking as they could be, and the expulsion from unearned social influence of obscurantist Ancien Regime elites.

Did the urban and rural mobs go fucking nuts? Of course they did! Were they whipped up by their social betters for their own ends? Of course they were!

Did it all end in smash? Of course it did! So TFW? It can't be flicked away with lawyer jokes.

Narr
As usual, buwaya gets it

Paco Wové said...

"The New York Times constantly talks about "Diversity" but who do they have as columnists."

Don't forget the white-people-hating Korean chick.

Rabel said...

It's a good column, especially considering the source.

The croc nipped off one of Bret's toes last week. He noticed.

Birkel said...

A Bret Stephens column in the NYT is always worthless.

Anonymous said...

I have read the column and in Bret's defense the column is accurate. He is alluding to the beginning of our own revolution vs the beginning of the French. I do know that Bret attended prep school in Concord, MA. So regardless of his parentage he will have been fully immersed in the beginnings of the American Revolution. I am willing to bet that the headline was written by someone other than Bret.

That said, Bret did lose his way during the Trump campaign and election.To me he got too much caught up in Trump's personal atmospherics and could not get passed his dislike. He offended enough WSJ readers that he had no choice but to leave. I suspect that he is now chafing a bit under the strictures of the NYT. He is brighter than David Brooks and in the past has written some really intelligent stuff. I suspect that his stay at the NYT will be short.

buwaya said...

KheSanh,
It is a mistake to assume normality or sincerity with such as Stephens.
Always follow the money, or, lacking specific information, understand that there is money to be followed.

Paco Wové said...

The "accuracy" of the column is not the point – the point is that this globalist turd is finally waking up to the fuck-obvious, after spending years shitting all over the native-born deplorables from his perch high up in the globalist media. Only now, when he starts to realize that the leftist thugs might affect him and his, does he start to hem and haw. "I say, chaps..."

Seriously, I loathe this man.

narciso said...

well he could be less cryptic, the American revolution was a middle class revolt against a colonial power, the prospect of something like shay's rebellion catching fire, is what gave impetus, to the constitutional convention, the French revolution, arose out of different circumstances, initially the estates general sought reform, much like the February revolution of 1917, but then this rousseaun current of nihilism took hold, one might argue it stemmed in some measure to the economic disruption of the little ice age of the late 18th century,

rcocean said...

"Don't forget the white-people-hating Korean chick."

Yeah, and in fairness to the NYT, they usually have a least one AA columnist. But they usually hire some dull mediocrity like Bob Hebert who will spout the Liberal/left party-line and call the Republicans racist - but do little more.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

KheSahn 0802: “[Stephens] is brighter than David Brooks and in the past has written some really intelligent stuff. I suspect that his stay at the NYT will be short.”

I will say that Bret Stephens wrote an outstanding tribute to Michael Kelly (embedded journalist in Iraq, died 2003) while he was a WSJ columnist. It was one of the few times I’ve heard Kelly’s name referenced recently. Michael Kelly was a true journalist who challenged everyone. He is dearly missed. He is what I consider the prototypical journalist — witty, cynical, irreverent, distrusting of authority. I don’t know that there are any left, save Glen Greenwald.

I highly recommend this compilation of Michael Kelly’s work: https://www.amazon.com/Things-Worth-Fighting-Collected-Writings/dp/1594200122/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Things+worth+fighting+for&qid=1562279999&s=gateway&sr=8-1

My definition of a good journalist: “I don’t trust anyone with power.” That’s their JOB. That’s why we read, that’s why we respect those kinds of journalists. Hard work and great courage. These NYT and WaPo people are bozos.

Narayanan said...

Blogger Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
The French Revolution was the beginning of the Enlightenment’s end. It believed in the perfectibility of man ...

Can you point to writers who held such belief leading up to the Revolution.

I don't know enough about the period and people.

Narayanan said...

Emerita Professora has every right to yell SQUIRREL in crowded blog.

All should adopt such cruel neutral temperament.

All your Adopted SQUIRRELs welcome

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Narayanan @7/4/19, 5:50 PM:

American or French?

The American influence was much more balanced: Hobbes, Locke, Hume, Montesquieu, etc. Or at least sober. Montesquieu’s philosophy was tempered by that of Locke.

The American version was really set up for the individual, which is why you will find many of the above English authors on the Vatocan’s List of proscribed books.

The French did not create a citizen concept that was sovereign or superior to the state. They may have called it a “republic,” but it wasn’t in actuality. Still isn’t.

Certainly Rousseau was a great influence on the French way forward. I consider him an example of the Enlightenment’s full nadir — the antithesis of Voltaire — and the beginning of the Romantic movement in philosophy.

Not sure if this helps. If I’d had more time, I’d have written a shorter comment. Time to barbeque!

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Rousseau was a disaster. Truly. Completely.

Bilwick said...

I enjoy (becase I have a sadistic, sick sense of humor) the disconnect between "liberals" thinking they're espousing the anti-statist ideals of the Declaration of Independence, and then working overtime to turn the US into a statist Utopia.

buwaya said...

Narayanan,
Then you need to do some reading.
The modern go-to for the French Revolution is Schama’s “Citizens”.
It’s got a potted version of everything, culture, philosophy, sociology, biographies, etc.
Best to read that before doing anything else, or asking questions.
There are complaints and controversies about everything of course, and whole libraries on everything.

Narayanan said...

Ayn Rand Lexicon

“Meritocracy”

“Meritocracy” is an old anti-concept and one of the most contemptible package deals. By means of nothing more than its last five letters, that word obliterates the difference between mind and force: it equates the men of ability with political rulers, and the power of their creative achievements with political power. There is no difference, the word suggests, between freedom and tyranny: an “aristocracy” is tyranny by a politically established elite, a “democracy” is tyranny by the majority—and when a government protects individual rights, the result is tyranny by talent or “merit” (and since “to merit” means “to deserve,” a free society is ruled by the tyranny of justice).

Philosophy: Who Needs It “An Untitled Letter,”
Philosophy: Who Needs It, 105

See also: “Anti-Concepts”; Democracy; Economic Power vs. Political Power; Freedom; Individual Rights; Justice; “Package-Dealing,” Fallacy of; Tyranny.


buwaya said...

There will always be a “...cracy”.
Human society cannot exist on this scale without hierarchies.
Or it cannot survive against any sub-group that develops a “...cracy”.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Agreed in full. Great exchange.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

The interesting thing about the word “liberal” in America is the benchmark: 1787. To my mind, the interpretation of liberal is beyond specific and enumerated powers in the Constitution. That’s the American context.

RBG thinks this is all bullshit, which is why her instantaneous confirmation in the post-Bork world was a disgrace. 96-3??? By what standard? Only a buffoon would have confirmed her. She cites other countries’ constitutions in her opinions!!!

If you want to see the future, look to the notorious R-B-G.

Narayanan said...

Came across this today...
https://maudestavern.com/

Maude's Tavern
a ravine of intolerance and cruel exclusion

https://maudestavern.com/2008/10/09/george-orwell-review/

George Orwell review
Review by Orwell: The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek / The Mirror of the Past by K. Zilliacus Observer, 9 April 1944

Would Hayek fit in with Globalist?

Narr said...

Like many here, I am not fond of JJR. I think his General Will is the fatal conceit in his ideology--so much madness down those paths, as swiftly demonstrated; and of course the FrenchRev was much more than a principled tax revolt that got out of hand-- we're a lucky country and weren't the battleground for the most extreme ideologies generated by an urban elite rabble and their most backward and terrified foes.

I think Schama is largely in agreement with old RR Palmer--the French Revolution hit the scene like a late blizzard in a promising spring. But that's easy for comfortable historians to think.

Much was new in the FR, but much harked back to the sects of 16th C Germany, where communal life in some places devolved quickly to the most paranoid and bloody-minded theocracies.
In a way, the FR can be seen as a secularization of similar impulses to revolutionary violence-- secular (or "secular") conflicts would take on the totality of faiths.

Napoleon was a logical enough outcome of all that in France; it was his energy and perceived willingness to overturn (he was a disruptor) that made him such an attractive figure to many. I think Clausewitz (who like many elite Germans both hated and idealized him), had a classic Enlightenment bent, and distrusted what the Romantics would do with the legend.

Narr
He was right, again

buwaya said...

Hayek was a globalist, or at least a universalist, in the sense of pontificating for all of humanity, though of course he did not mean to rule it.
Thats what philosophers tend to be.
Its a chronic problem with their kind.

For that matter so was Orwell.

Narayanan said...

Blogger Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...
The interesting thing about the word “liberal” in America is the benchmark: 1787. To my mind, the interpretation of liberal is beyond specific and enumerated powers in the Constitution. That’s the American context.

Then why do conservative objection against 9th amendment? Which also constrains government power

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

Are you not conflating liberal with statist?

Do Federalist Society know the difference?

They champion 10 th amendment and if they are serious about precedent they should respect all earlier amendments too.

buwaya said...

In European traditon from the 19th century liberal meant "statist", as in centralizer. Or in a Euro political context a unifier, an overthrower of small traditional polities, of local rulers, of local laws, and also of local liberties and customs.
All of this to be replaced by large or even universal polities, uniform laws, uniform values and uniform "rights".

Narayanan said...


Blogger buwaya said...
In European traditon from the 19th century liberal meant "statist", as in centralizer.

When did Americans start going to Europe Universities for ##education and polish ## and in what fields ?

And bring infection home!?

Narayanan said...

@buwaya ...
Is there Spanish proverb ==>>
! God said to man : take what you want and pay for it !

Narayanan said...

Blogger Gahrie asks

1) What does condemning political violence have to do with being a left-winger or a right-winger?

2) Are you implying that both sides are equally responsible for committing, promoting and supporting political violence today?

May I ask also - does this go with

What is AA position on
* Charlottesville HOAX hoax as Scott Adams calls it *

buwaya said...

19th century.
Some examples include Horace Mann, who introduced the Prussian model of public education.
But there was a host of such people and they had enormous influence. The American model of a university for instance is largely German, not English.

Narayanan said...

buwaya said...
In European traditon from the 19th century liberal meant "statist", as in centralizer.
...
All of this to be replaced by large or even universal polities, uniform laws, uniform values and uniform "rights".

If such view have become embedded in USA politicized jurisprudence then violence becomes *tort* and a question of who has been injury worser victim greater deserve reparations etc.

As we're watching and learning.

Narayanan said...

So question for Emerita Professora (no squirrel please) in the context of ConLaw

How is Bill of Rights 1789 USA

Standing up against

France Revolution 1789
Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite

Maybe there is a book to be written!?

Narayanan said...

This could be a good read
The House of Intellect https://g.co/kgs/RPHcKB

In this international bestseller, originally published in 1959, Jacques Barzun, acclaimed author of From Dawn to Decadence, takes on the whole intellectual -- or pseudo-intellectual -- world, attacking it for its betrayal of Intellect. ...

Kirk Parker said...

"Then why do conservative objection against 9th amendment? "

That's news to me.